Sun 21 May 2023

Fiesta time as Armstrong makes it three in a row in ERC3

Ford Fiesta Rally3 Evo driver Jon Armstrong made it a hat-trick of wins in the FIA ERC3 Championship, this time demonstrating his pace – and that of his Polish-built car – on the high-speed gravel stages of ORLEN 79th Rally Poland.

A winner on the events in Fafe and Gran Canaria earlier this season, Armstrong was never headed from the moment he beat Piotr Parys through Friday evening’s Mikołajki Arena super special stage.

From there, the M-Sport Poland pilot grew his advantage and was almost 2min 30secs ahead in the Rally3 category when he was forced to change a rear-left wheel on Saturday’s stage seven. But swift work by Armstrong and co-driver Cameron Fair ensured they remained in front at the overnight halt in Mikołajki, albeit by a reduced margin of 31.1sec.

But when second-placed Jakub Matulka rolled his Fiesta on Sunday’s second stage, Armstrong was left in the clear.

“It’s a really good result and nice to get the class victory on M-Sport Poland’s home event,” said Armstrong, who was co-driven by Scottish champion Cameron Fair. “Overall I’m really happy, happy with the car, the pacenotes and Cameron did a good job. The pace was really high, I feel like I was pushing really hard so overall it was a good weekend.

“I was a little bit careful on the first stage out of service but then we made a set-up change for the rest of the loop which worked really nicely in the ruts so that was good to find the better direction to go with the car in the future.”

Matulka soldiered to midday service where extensive repairs were made to enable him to finish second. Parys, meanwhile, restarted on Sunday morning after he retired on stage five when his Fiesta’s fire extinguisher went off.

Paulo Soria gave Renault’s Clio Rally3 its international-level debut in Poland. He was in second after two stages only for a wheel change to drop him out of contention before a roll forced his retirement on stage seven.

FIA ERC4 Championship honours went to Ola Nore following a dominant display by the Norwegian, who won the category for Rally4 and Rally5 cars by 1min 00.7sec.

The Renault Clio Rally4 driver, who also took the Hankook-equipped FIA Junior ERC victory, headed home FIA Junior ERC rivals Norbert Maior and Victor Hansen with Toyota Gazoo Racing development driver Hikaru Kogure taking fourth. Roberto Daprà finished fifth ahead of Miko Jalava, Ghjuvanni Rossi and Chistoph Brugger.

Tymoteusz Jocz suffered another driveshaft failure but made it to the finish in ninth position followed by Bendéguz Hangodi, the Rally Islas Canarias class winner recovering from illness to complete the top 10. Championship leader Norman Kreuter battled brake problems to finish 14th.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM